What to Do With a Bad Report

What to Do With a Bad Report

It is inevitable. At some point in your life, you will receive a bad report. We all face disappointments, challenges, setbacks, and heartbreaks. How you respond when trials come is critical—for your attitude can influence not only your emotions, but also your faith. This week I received several bad reports. The first came via a letter in the mail. Another in a heartbreaking text from a friend. A third through a discouraging situation made known on social media. The irony of a bad report is that it contains factual information that opposes the promises of God, and can be the very situation God uses to test our faith in Him. Do you repeat the bad report when it comes, or do you hold fast to God and contend for His promises to be fulfilled? In Numbers chapter 13, we read the story of the twelve men Moses sent out to scout the land God had promised to the children of Israel. When the scouts came back, they spoke of a good land “flowing with milk and honey.” But they had a problem. The people living in the land were strong and powerful. Outmatched in strength, physical size and number, the scouts were afraid. They spread a bad report among the children of Israel (v. 32). Often, the first response to a bad report is fear. If you’re not careful, a bad report can threaten to— —steal your hope —kill your dreams, and —destroy your faith in God Eight years ago, my husband Gabriel received a bad report. This was near the start of 2009, when our economy crumbled… and Gabriel was laid off...
Mariners, Angels, Signs and Wonders

Mariners, Angels, Signs and Wonders

“Today we’re going to catch a foul ball.” Walking to Safeco Field to watch a ballgame between the Seattle Mariners and the Angels of Anaheim, I turned to my daughter Ashley and made this great statement of faith. Or maybe it was a statement of presumption. Either way, Ashley — who is a professional baseball sports writer and has attended more ballgames than I can count — dismissed my comment without a thought. She knew better. Foul balls are never hit her way. Together with Gabriel, we took our seats in the 100 section, right in the sightline of third base. Wouldn’t you know it? At the top of the first inning, the first foul ball of the game was hit by an Angel high into the air…and as it lofted down, it looked like it was heading straight for us. The ball took its time falling from the sky. This gave me plenty of time to consider my words spoken before the game started. This did seem to be what I had wanted. I was also acutely aware that without a glove, if I stood up to catch that ball with my bare hands, it would probably hurt. A lot. I remained seated and watched the ball as it drifted down. And so did every other person in my section. No one moved! Not one person stood up to take possession of this errant ball. Eventually, the ball dropped over our heads and landed at the feet of the fans seated right behind us, then bounced away. A few innings later, I looked over at the Mariner dugout and had a flashback in my memory to a player...
To My Millennial Friends: Finding Your Purpose in Life Through Identity and Destiny

To My Millennial Friends: Finding Your Purpose in Life Through Identity and Destiny

As my sister-in-law Debby drove to the elementary school to pick up her daughter, the car was filled with a barrage of questions from her 3-year-old son Cameron, securely fastened in his car seat in the back. Like many other preschoolers his age, Cameron was fascinated with the “why’s” of life in his growing world. “Mommy, why are we here?” Cameron asked Debby as they pulled up to the school. “We’re here to pick up your sister,” came Debby’s obvious answer. Frustrated, Cameron let out an exasperated sigh. “No,” he said, “not why are we here. Why are we heeere?” To emphasis his point, Cameron’s little arms made a wide circle to indicate the earth. And with that unforgettable exchange, this little boy asked the question so many of us take a life-time to answer. Maybe you’ve been asking these questions lately as well. “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? How can I make a difference in this world? I’m so confused…” Confusion often comes when your identity is mixed up with the vocation you choose to follow. Your identity and vocation are not the same thing, though they can and should work together. This is so important to understand! Let’s say you’ve chosen to work as a nurse. You invest your time and resources in training, and spend years developing your skill. Whenever you meet a new person, you’re quick to say in the introductions, “I am a nurse.” Being a nurse has become your identity. It is who you are—or so you think. Then one day, your job folds and you are thrown into a pool of thousands...
Radio Interview with Roger Marsh on Powerful Moments in the Presence of God

Radio Interview with Roger Marsh on Powerful Moments in the Presence of God

This week I had the privilege of talking with Roger Marsh, host of the radio talk show “The Bottom Line.” Roger comes from my hometown area in California, and talking with him felt like returning to my roots. I’m so glad his was the first interview I’ve had about the new release of my book, Powerful Moments in the Presence of God. I was fully prepared to answer Roger’s questions about the devotionals; surprisingly, I was caught a little off-guard with his questions about my photography. I was glad to talk about both! http://lorrainemarie.com/wp-content/uploads/The-Bottom-Line.mp3   If you prefer to listen to the interview while looking at beautiful pictures from this book, click here instead!   To order your own copy—or one for a friend—you can visit Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or...
Finding Hope When You’re Facing an Impossible Situation

Finding Hope When You’re Facing an Impossible Situation

I love to use the Internet. “Information at your fingertips.” Sometimes it’s hard to remember what life was like before Google, Wikipedia, web browsers and search engines—all ready at our whim to dispense advice as we search for answers to our questions, from the meaningful to the mundane. This knowledge gives us power—or at least, the sense of control over our situation and environment. The answer to any problem that faces us is just a mouse-click away. If only it were that easy… This thirst for knowledge has been around since the beginning of time—knowledge that was passed down from one generation to another. Skills were taught from parent to child, a trusted pattern for survival. Until one day, the trusted methods failed to work, and instead of a positive outcome, an impossible situation loomed in its place.   Luke 5:1-11 The Miracle Catch of Fish   Simon Peter was a fisherman who faced an impossible situation. He’d been out fishing in his boat all night, doing all the right things—fishing in the right places, at the right time, with the right equipment, just as he had learned and done many times before—but he came up empty-handed without a single fish for all his efforts. Tired and frustrated, Peter was on the shore taking care of his nets when a Man got into his boat nearby. The Man said to Peter, “Let me use your boat.” The Man was Jesus. Peter got into the boat with Jesus and pushed off, so that Jesus could teach the people while in the boat. When Jesus finished His teaching, He turned his attention to Peter...
5 Unusual Ways Listening Better Will Immediately Improve Your Relationships

5 Unusual Ways Listening Better Will Immediately Improve Your Relationships

Listening is an art that is developed. It requires discipline and engages all that you are.” If you’re like most people I know, you want to be a good listener. Listening well is not always easy to do, especially with all the distractions that constantly compete for our attention. Even after fourteen years of practicing the art of listening—opening my Bible to read the Word and hear the quiet whisper of the Lord as He then speaks to my heart—it still is a challenge for me to be still. It’s difficult to turn off those internal and external distractions that cause me to lose focus. But I’ve found that this is often the key I need, so that I can listen well. This devotional, which is included in my book Powerful Moments in the Presence of God, was impressed to me as I practiced being still so that I could listen to God. It’s a message I’ve returned to many times…I guess because I need this reminder often, so that I can put it into practice. What I find most interesting is that when I am intentional to listen closely, it not only improves my relationship with God, but also with others.   Five Unusual Ways Listening Better Will Immediately Improve Your Relationships—With God and With Others You will receive deeper truth—revelation from the Bible that will impact your life. You will become sensitized to the needs of those around you. You will change your behavior. You will learn and grow. You will draw near.   Each of these concepts build on the other. It’s so cool! If you want to immediately...